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2 Emails Sent = 31 Albums Sold: Find Out How We Did It…

by John Oszajca on September 19, 2011

Eesh! It’s been over 2 months since my last blog post. Sorry about that folks. I spent the summer traveling through Europe and fell behind on the blog. But I’m back in the saddle and should have more regular content for you going forward. So here’s what’s up…

Recently I set up a campaign for a friend (for privacy reasons I am not mentioning his name), in which we sold 31 albums with only 2 emails. This was for an album that came out well over a year ago and with a mailing list that had seen very few new subscribers in almost as long. In short, the list was cold.

But before we dive in here I just want to point out that by no means am I trying to suggest that 31 albums is some insane number. No one got rich as a result of this promotion and certainly no sales records were set.

The reason I’m sharing this with you is because it’s a very REAL number and more importantly, it’s something that just about every musician reading this can duplicate.

…And hey, while it may not be a sales record, who doesn’t want nearly $300 and 31 new listeners, right?

To that end I thought I’d give you guys a sneak peak at the campaign and tell you exactly how we did it.

There Are Two Parts To This…

1. First I want you to watch the video below.

2. Once you’ve watched the video, I want you to read on and I’ll explain how we got those results.

Well, what are you waiting for… click play now
.

So Here’s How We Did It…

Step 1: Needless to say, you need a mailing list. If you don’t have one then you need to get yourself an autoresponder and start driving traffic to an opt-in form to build your list. This is all covered in Music Marketing Manifesto.

Step 2: The next step of the process was to craft the offer. The idea with a promotion like this is to create a sense of urgency which forces people to get off the fence and make a decision as to whether or not they want to buy your music.

Note* Getting people off the fence is one of the biggest obstacles to making a sale.

In this case we took an unreleased track the artist had laying around and offered it to everyone who picked up a copy of his album within 72 hours. In order to avoid upsetting people who had ordered previously, we also extended the offer to people who had already purchased the album.

Step 3: Next we crafted two email messages to go out to his list and we started the promotion on a Tuesday and scheduled it to end on Thursday at midnight.

Note* Tuesday – Thursday are widely considered to be the best days to send out email. On Mondays people are recovering from the weekend, Fridays they are preparing for it, and during the weekend itself people are often away from their computers. But this is just a generality.

(Email 1) In the first email the artist told a personal story about how the song came to be, why it was recorded, and how much it meant to him. We then established that the song has never been released and is unavailable anywhere else, but that for the next 72 hours they can get it for free if they ordered his album. In this particular case he also donated the proceeds to charity.

The email was written in a conversational tone and the message itself was sincere and genuine.

From a marketing standpoint we were trying to create rapport and interest as well as establish scarcity and a good “reason why”, which in this case was the fact that proceeds were being donated to charity.

Note* “Scarcity” or “time pressure” is without a doubt one of the most powerful sales triggers you can use.

(Email 2) The second email went out on day 3 and was what I call the “Final Notice Email”. I’ll often use the words “Final Notice” in the subject line itself and the objective of this email is to convey maximum urgency. This is your LAST CHANCE to ever to get this great deal… or something to that effect.

Note* It’s important to note that you really need to mean this stuff. We’re not trying to take advantage of people here or insult people’s intelligence. We are simply trying to create a great offer and frame it in a way that is most likely to close the sale.

(Email 3) Wait a second; I thought you said you only sent 2 emails? One of my favorite features with Aweber (the autoresponder that I use), is that it allows you to see who opens each email you send and who doesn’t. With the click of a button you can segment those who did not open your email and send a new message to those people ONLY. That’s exactly what we did.

On day two I created a segmented list of all the people who had not yet opened the first email. I then just changed the headline and resent the message. This simple trick brought in 18% more clicks… pretty cool feature.

Step 4: In this case we wanted to offer the album through CD Baby so we asked that people email us the order number or the email address they used when they ordered the album. You can either manually email each customer the bonus or send it in good faith via an autoresponder. We chose to do the later (purely out of laziness) and had over 300 responses from both new and old customers.

The results?

As you already know we were able to bring in 31 sales and nearly $300 in new revenue on an album that was over a year old and from a cold list that had not even been emailed in nearly as long.

That’s really the long and short of it. If you have a mailing list and create a similar promotion, I’d be shocked if you didn’t see a big spike in sales as a result.

These promotions are commonly referred to as “Limited Time Offers” (LTOs). Second only to a launch, they are one of the most powerful plays in my music marketing playbook.

LTOs don’t only need to be part of the occasional promotion, they can also be used right out of the gate as part of your autoresponder series.

In this month’s training module within the Music Marketing Insider Circle you can learn how to use various Plugins and scripts to set up an LTO which expires on a pre-determined date and time and then redirects people to a new page of your choice.

This means that if Joe signs up for you list on Monday but Sally signs up on Wednesday, the LTO will expire 3 days later for Sally then it would for Joe. It’s basically the “set it and forget it” way of setting up a limited time offer. I recently used this technique in one of my own sales funnels and saw a dramatic spike in sales from people that I head previously considered to be “non-buyers”.

You can access the training module, as well as the Mastermind Forum, Insider Interviews, and group coaching calls by registering to the Music Marketing Insider Circle here >>>

So what do you think?

Have you had success with Limited Time Offers? Think this is worth adding to YOUR playbook?

Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think :-)

Talk soon,

– John

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul October 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm

John – great advice as always. I took some of it under consideration and set up a fully automated system using Mailchimp – what do you think?

http://paulloeb.net

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John Oszajca October 3, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Good stuff Paul. Now it’s just about watching the conversion rate and seeing if some small changes to the page improve it.

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david September 27, 2011 at 6:12 am

Hey, this is great. I have been sending emails lately to gather some people. But 2 emails?!! thats pretty awesome. Will try your path.

http://www.beatscore.com/promotion-music.html

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Dave Schaefer September 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Hi John,

Could you further explain in the promotion the charity angle. Was all of the $ 300 donated to charity. How did the specifics of that go down?

Thanks
Dave

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John Oszajca September 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Hey Dave,

My understanding was that the artist donated all profits after manufacturing costs. As he has already recouped manufacturing for the album I believe it was the whole $300. I only set up the email promo. I wasn’t involved with that aspect of it. By no means do you need to donate profits to charity to make this work. I have never done the charity angle and these LTOs work great for me all the time. It’s simply another trigger that helps address the “why” in people’s minds. But needless to say, that artists was passionate about the charity and genuinely wanted to generate some money for them.

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Steve Rodgers September 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Hey John,

I always get critical of info products because a lot of times they offer great insight, but still leave a lot of questions and do not inspire confidence that the strategies will work for just about anyone.

You on the other hand, have a really great knack for for backing up your claims with practical examples. Great stuff!

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John Oszajca September 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Thanks Steve, always appreciated.

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Paul September 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm

John, great tips as always. One question – how many people were on this list?

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John Oszajca September 19, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Hi Paul,

This particular artist has a few thousand people on his list, but there has been almost no activity in over a year. Not mailing your list semi regularly is considered to be a great way to completely kill it. Most significant is the fact that because there has been very little new traffic since his album was released, almost everyone on the list has already been exposed to his album and several promotions. The significant factor with this test is that it demonstrates that old product can be sold to old subscribers who are already “exposed” to your marketing, as long as you reposition your offer and introduce some new incentives. Needless to say, a promotion like this would be infinitely more powerful if the list was full of new subscribers.

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Dave Haertel September 19, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Hey John..

Very excited about your course..Very glad you are back..I love those emails from you

Dave

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John Oszajca September 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Thanks Dave,

Should have plenty more stuff coming down the pipeline.

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mark Pinkus September 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Hi JOhn, this is a great way of starting the morning. seeing how you did this. I’ve contacted my web designer(we haven’t spoken since)and I really want to follow your sales design and get more email traffic. My website is set up where there is a Write me button but that I see is the problem. We need a email, name sign up design which you have been referring to and showing us via your videos. I check every day my sales on cdbaby and they are stuck in frozen ice. I’ve got some concerts coming up this month and there I sell well. I have 7 cds to sell. However online through my website and cdbaby etc it’s another story,. This is where I follow your guidance and sales map. I thank you for all that you explain and share. I’ll keep you informed to how the changes are going. It’s like building a pyrimad. One stone at a time. I’ve been in this business for quite awhile and it’s exciting to learn and feel like almost starting over thanks to your music marketing manifesto. These days I’m practising like crazy at the piano getting ready for some out of town concerts but believe me I really want to sell product and it will get done as soon as I can get together with my web designer. I’m not a computer programer at all. great to listen to you online.

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John Oszajca September 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Thanks Mark,

If you don’t have a clear and enticing opt-in form on your site then I strongly recommend getting one up. From a sales stand point it’s all in the list. If you have a large list that you have a half decent relationship with, you can nearly generate sales on demand.

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Marc September 19, 2011 at 10:45 am

31 sounds good and it’s an interesting story, but how many people were there on the mailing list? Also, is it a band or artist that does a lot of gigs and regularly gets some media coverage? These are factors that influence the results, I think, so it would be interesting to hear. Thanks!

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John Oszajca September 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Hi Marc,

This particular artist has a few thousand people on his list, but he hasn’t done any shows or received any media in some time. Most significant is the fact that because there has been very little new traffic since his album was released, almost everyone on the list has already been exposed to his album and several promotions. The significant factor with this test is that it demonstrates that old product can be sold to old subscribers who are already “exposed” to your marketing, as long as you reposition your offer and introduce some new incentives. Needless to say, a promotion like this would be infinitely more powerful if the list was full of new subscribers.

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Marc September 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Hi John,

Thanks for the clarification. You say there are a few thousand people on the list. If that’s 3,000 we talk about a 1% conversion rate. I know that this particular campaign would have been more powerful if there had been new subscribers only, but generally, do you think that 1% is a good conversion rate for an e-mail promotion? Would be interested to hear your opinion as it will give an idea about what numbers are realistic.

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John Oszajca September 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Normal conversion rates for a promotion like this kind of go out the window because nearly everyone on the list has already gone through the heavy bombardment of the promotion for the album release itself.

This particular artist converted at nearly 10% when he sent out a promotion for the release of his album. That is EXTREMELY high.

The conversion rate on this was extremely low because everyone had already been very exposed. But it was still good considering that we were essentially squeezing extra sales out of an old list with minimal effort.

I don’t mean to be vague, it’s just that the artist asked that I keep certain aspects of things private. he is not a marketer and doesn’t really want marketing material about him out there for his fans to read.

If you are asking what kind of conversion rates are normal… If it’s a new release with a responsive list I would consider 6% of the total list to be very good. I have seen better and worse.

If it was a simple promotion like this but with something new, maybe an online concert or a special pressing of something (but not a major release), I would say 1 – 3% would be good. Obviously numbers are going to vary quite a lot.

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Marc September 20, 2011 at 7:05 am

Thanks, John. Much appreciated. I believe such figures help to put things in the right perspective, so people won’t start dreaming. It takes a lot of time and work to build a mailing list of 1,000 people who are genuinely interested in what you do if you start from scratch.

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John Oszajca September 21, 2011 at 12:39 am

I hear you Marc. I’m definitely not hear to say that it’s easy as pie. But I don’t want people to be scared off either. I just got over 1000 new emails on one of my lists in less than 48 hours with a joint venture I recently did which didn’t cost anything. I’ve done this kind of thing a lot and a number of my clients have reported similar results. Paid traffic is another way to get a big list in no time. But of course there is risk involved with the later. If you go the old route of picking up one fan at a time from shows and so forth, you’re right, it will take a lot of work and a long time. But with some of the online strategies that are available to all of us it can be done much more quickly and painlessly.

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Chris Rockett September 19, 2011 at 10:36 am

Hey John glad to have you back.

I enjoyed seeing the pictures of you exploring my homeland ;-)

Just wanted to let you know that I’m really enjoying the content in the insider circle and I would recommend any of my subscribers to jump on this too.

Keep up the good work man, would be cool to jump on the phone at some point and do an interview about what you’ve put together in the program.

Talk soon,

– Chris

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John Oszajca September 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Hey Chris,

Thanks. Sorry I missed you in London. I hear I was staying right around the corner from you at Earl’s Court.

Shoot me an email and let’s set up the interview.

Cheers,
John

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